Various Artists

The Ultimate Rodgers & Hart, Vol. 3 [Original Cast Recording]

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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

The third and final volume of British archival label Pearl's misnamed The Ultimate Rodgers & Hart series covers the last several years of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's songwriting partnership, starting with their 1939 musical, Too Many Girls. The intention of the series is to collect existing recordings of songs from the songwriters' shows and movies as performed by the original cast members or film stars. Since Rodgers & Hart broke up, and Hart died, just as the vogue for original cast and soundtrack albums was beginning, these are usually individual recordings that happen to have been made, and they are necessarily incomplete. For example, there was no cast album of the original 1940 production of Pal Joey, and hence no available recording of Gene Kelly and Leila Ernst singing "I Could Write a Book" to include here. The show is represented by a dialogue scene enacted by Kelly and Martha Tilton on a 1945 radio broadcast. But while Marcy Westcott of Too Many Girls never made a recording of the show's hit, "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," Mary Jane Walsh, another cast member, did, and that leads off this album. Nothing from 1938's unrecorded The Boys from Syracuse could appear on the series' second volume, but the hit "This Can't Be Love" was repeated in the 1940 London show Up and Doing, and cast member Patricia Burke's recording turns up here. Shirley Ross of Higher and Higher did record that show's hit, "It Never Entered My Mind," so it is included. The album concludes with four familiar Rodgers & Hart evergreens featured in films of the late '40s by stars like Perry Como and Doris Day. But many of the selections are forgotten gems, making this not so much an "ultimate" as a rarities collection.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Too Many Girls, musical
1 Mary Jane Walsh 03:05 Amazon
2 Mary Jane Walsh 03:02 Amazon
3 Diosa Costello 02:23 Amazon
4 Mary Jane Walsh 02:47 Amazon
5 Diosa Costello 02:21 Amazon
6 Mary Jane Walsh 02:46 Amazon
The Boys from Syracuse, musical
7 Allan Jones 02:20 Amazon
8 Allan Jones 02:25 Amazon
Higher and Higher, musical
9 Shirley Ross 03:18 Amazon
10 Shirley Ross 02:25 Amazon
11 Shirley Ross 02:42 Amazon
12 Shirley Ross 02:52 Amazon
Pal Joey, musical
13 Gene Kelly / Martha Tilton 04:01 Amazon
14 Patricia Burke 03:03 Amazon
15 Alberto Vila 03:01 Amazon
16 Alberto Vila 02:52 Amazon
17 Alberto Vila 02:56 Amazon
18 Ray Bolger 01:39 Amazon
Blue Moon, song (from "Babes in Arms")
19 Mel Tormé 03:15 Amazon
Where or When, song (from "Babes in Arms")
20 Lena Horne 02:47 Amazon
Blue Room, song (from musical "The Girlfriend")
21 Perry Como 03:34 Amazon
With a Song in My Heart, song (from musical "Spring Is Here")
22 Doris Day 03:06 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick